In 1966, the Merritone label was founded as a subsidiary of Federal Records when the Ska beat was slowing down its tempo to take a next musical form called Rocksteady.
From the sons of Ken Khouri, Paul and Richard, engineers at the Federal Records to even employees at their pressing plant - everybody involved at the label followed the Merritone productions with passion.
They recorded many songs under the Merritone label. However, those only appeared on vinyl records in limited quantities in Jamaica and a small bunch of titles were released on the Island label in UK. Some of the recordings never saw the light, some became hardly known and many of them are now considered being ultra rare records. Thus the label became a mysterious Rocksteady production in the Jamaican musicology.
The label name is originated from Winston Blake's sound system, Merritone. Federal Records, which was the largest record company of the time in Jamaica, often used young talented people like Winston, who knew much about trends of the fraternity for promoting their new materials. Interestingly, Federal Records used even the sound system name in this case.
Although Federal Records is known for compositions arranged by Ernest Ranglin, Trinidadian guitarist Lynn Taitt and the Jets were in charge of the Merritone recordings. Lynn Taitt took a prominent role as a forerunner of brand new Rocksteady sounds and he produced Hopeton Lewis's 'This Music Got Soul' masterpiece.
Merritone recordings were undoubtedly a collective of veteran musicians at Federal Records, using high-technology recording facilities, traditions and being proud of the record company. Many would still describe the sound so unique, elegant, sophisticated and authentic like no other.
This compilation is the first in a series of digital albums from Dub Store Records’s Federal / Merritone reissue program. All of these tracks are also available as 7" vinyls in the "Vinyls & CDs" section and at www.reggaerecord.com
Dub Store Records is the Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae and Dancehall reissue label run by the eponymous Tokyo based record store. The label aims at accurately covering the 50-plus years of Jamaican music, and pass on many rare and magnificent recordings, which are non-commercial and highly artistic. Carefully handing down the tradition of reggae music, Dub Store Records has so far issued recordings from labels and artists such as Studio One, Federal Records (Federal, Kentone, Merritone), Jammys, Bunny Wailer's Solomonic, Derrick Harriott, Kiddus I, Redman International, King Tubby’s Firehouse, Fam's, BMN and much more to come.
● More Dub Store Records info available at www.dubstore.co.jp/en/dsr.php
● Reggae, Dancehall, Dub, Roots, Rocksteady, Ska, Jamaican Jazz, Soul & Funk records at www.reggaerecord.com
● 120,000+ high quality Reggae digital downloads at www.reggaerecord.com/download/